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Short Story: “I’m so proud of you son.” by J Michael

Lyric & Verse
Ms. Jacklyn Mable was overcome with emotion as she hugged her son Jalen after graduation. She was so proud of the young man he had become. Back when he was 13, she was not sure he was going to make it to college. After her husband Jordan passed away, Jalen began to act out. He would get in trouble at school, picking fights and staying in the principal’s office. Eventually that led to the principal calling in Ms. Mable and from there, Jalen was put in therapy with Dr. Edwin Lorenzo. The therapy with Dr. Lorenzo seemingly turned Jalen around. He started acting better in school, his grades got better and he even picked up playing football. He would go from being a kid on the cusp of being expelled from school to being the star athlete of his school going to Harvard University.
“Mom. I could not have done this without you.”
All of Jalen’s family and friends were there to congratulate him after his mom finished hugging him and crying and off in the distance stood Dr. Lorenzo. As he came forward, Jalen moved towards him and gave him a hug.
“You saved me!”
“Jalen, you saved yourself. I am so proud of the young man you have become.”
“Dr. Lorenzo, if at all possible, could I come to your practice this summer and work there. Be an intern or something? I would really love to do that.”
“You have an interest in doing what I do?”
“Well, let me talk to your mother about it and then, if she agrees, you can come down next week.”
Dr. Lorenzo talked to Ms. Mable and she agreed to let it happen. Jalen also had to agree to getting up early before going to Dr. Lorenzo’s office to do his workouts for football in the fall.
The agreement was made and Jalen walked in the following week ready for work. As soon as he opened the door, he was met by something he did not expect. There sat a young woman on Dr. Lorenzo’s waiting room couch. Her chocolate skin and athletic build captured his attention immediately as he walked in. Jalen went and sat right by her.
“You come here often?”
“I know. That was a bad line. “
“It’s okay. Cute can get you by. I’m here for my session by the way.”
“Oh okay.”
Just when they were getting ready to talk more, Dr. Lorenzo called for her.
“Erykah, come on back.”
“I’ll guess I will see you around stranger.”
Erykah and Dr. Lorenzo had their session and when she walked out, Jalen and Erykah’s eyes met.
“You going to stare at me or are you going to take my number?”
Jalen smiled as he handed her his phone and she put her number in.
“See ya next time Doc.”
Erykah left and as soon as she did, Dr. Lorenzo’s face went from happy and smiling to a look of frustration.
“Jalen, you cannot talk to the patients. That is the first rule. I know you and her are the same age, but I would highly recommend you not pursue her and also, there are some issues about her that you don’t want to get involved with.”
Jalen shook his head, but he knew in the back of his mind that he was going to call Erykah that night and he did. Once he got on the phone with her, he began to get lost in conversation, finding out about her and her life and how she winded up in the doctor’s office.
“They say I just lost it after my dad passed.”
“My dad passed as well. When I was 13.”
The two would stay up all night talking and Jalen would wake up late for workouts and for work.
“Jalen! Get up! You’re late!”
“Sorry Momma!”
“Staying up late talking on that phone isn’t going to get you ready for college. Tell that little girl she can call you tomorrow next time.”
That night was the start of a secret relationship between Erykah and Jalen. He would see her in the office once a week and Jalen would play it off like he took Dr. Lorenzo’s advice and then they would meet up at least twice a week to hang out or go on a date. As the days went by and the summer went on, these two would continue to grow closer and spend more time together. The workouts Jalen was supposed to be doing in the morning turned into breakfast meetups with Erykah at the local coffee shop and Jalen was steadily losing sight of leaving for college in favor of spending more time with his secret girlfriend. All seemed to be going well one day until one day Erykah did not show up for treatment like she was supposed to.
“Dr. Lorenzo, doesn’t Erykah have an appointment now?”
“Indeed she does.”
“So, where is she?”
“I don’t know. I’ll speak to her aunt later today.”
Jalen didn’t let on to Dr. Lorenzo, but he was worried. He had not heard from Erykah all day and she was not answering any of his text messages. He was able to cover it up all day and as soon as he left work, he hit up her phone again. There was no answer again this time and he was not sure what to do. As he hopped in his car, he reflected on the times he had with Erykah and was wondering where he was all while wondering how he was going to pull a miracle of getting in shape in two weeks for fall camp. Soon as he got in the car, he started up the vehicle only to be hit over the head with a bottle and knocked out.
When Jalen woke up, there was a bright light shining right on his face.
“You feel that heat?”
“Where am I?”
“Don’t worry about it. I got this all under control.”
Jalen woke up to his hands tied around a chair with a blindfold on. The ominous voice sounded eerily similar to one that he had been hearing all summer.
A creepy laugh came after Jalen asked if it was Erykah talking to him.
“I see you have met my friend Erykah.”
“Your friend Erykah?!?!?!?!? Who are you?!?”
“I am Brandy. I have heard all about you Jalen and I figured I would meet you myself since you have been taking her away from me all summer.”
“You can have as much time as you want with her, just leave me alone and let me leave.”
“I’m sorry. I cannot do that.”
“Today we are going to play a little game. A game that I have played a few times. Once with Erykah’s mother, again with Erykah’s father and a game that I intend on playing with you.”
“I don’t think I like the sound of this.”
“Well, we are just getting ready to have some fun.”
The blindfold was removed from Jalen to what looked like an old shed with blacked out windows and who stood in front of him looked like a disheveled Erykah.
“Erykah? What are you doing?”
“Like I told you, my name is Brandy and we are about to play a game. Your summer is about to end with a bang.”
“I should have listened to Dr. Lorenzo!”
Mike Patton is an up-and-coming writer from Nashville, TN who not only writer poetry and short fiction he also brings a fresh and non-biased opinion about sports. From his radio experience in Nashville to his time as a sports writer for Free’s World, the website for radio personality and former cohost of BET’s 106 and Park Free ( 

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